A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a cartoon-like fantasy role-playing game, but there is a heavy emphasis on violence. It's not graphic or bloody, but third-person combat makes up the bulk of the gameplay. Don't be fooled by the cute Disney characters as there is sword (Keyblade) slashing and magic attacks used to defeat enemies.
What's it about?
KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: DREAM DROP DISTANCE is an action-heavy role-playing game (RPG) that fuses third-person combat with imaginative worlds and familiar faces, including many Disney characters and villains. Depending on the task at hand, you'll play as two different spiky-haired teenagers, Sora and Riku, in their quest to become masters of the Keyblade, a magical key-shaped weapon wielded like a sword. The story can get quite convoluted, but the duo team up to take on the malevolent Master Xehanort, voiced by Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame. Other celebrities to lend their voices to characters include Haley Joel Osment (as Sora), David Gallagher (Riku), Hayden Panetierre (Xion) and Jesse McCartney (both Roxas and Ven). The orchestral music, including timeless Disney melodies, is also exceptional. You'll also interact with the likes of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and many other Disney mainstays, in detailed worlds based on classic Disney films ranging from Fantasia and Pinocchio to more modern movies like Tron and its computerized grid world.
Is it any good?
It's not a flawless fantasy, but it should entertain both fans of the franchise and those new to Kingdom Hearts games, too. Combat is the name of the game, with countless enemies to battle. Referred to as Dream Eaters, these colorful creatures come in all shapes and sizes, and you must attack, block, dodge, and jump to take them down. You'll also use the environment to swing, dash, and perform fast acrobatic moves, perform magic spells and combo chains, and recruit more than 50 different kinds of spirits to fight alongside you. Visually speaking, the three-dimensional environments are stunning and well-designed; both Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo 3DS XL machines let you see the game in 3D without requiring any glasses.
As with other role-playing games, you'll "level up" over time and experience, and grow stronger throughout the single-player adventure. But unlike many other RPGs, there's little in the way of side missions to keep the player engaged -- but at least there are a couple of mini-games, such as riding light-cycles in the Tron world or collecting stars while flying through vortexes. Overall, fans of past Kingdom Hearts games and Disney characters should get a lot out of the fast-paced Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. Between the non-stop combat, beautiful environments, and stellar orchestral score, the game's charm and action outweighs the confusing story, awkward dialogue, and other minor shortcomings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Square Enix using Disney characters, villains, and locations in the Kingdom Hearts games and if it adds anything to them? Is it just a marketing ploy to expand the appeal of these fantasy role-playing adventures? Does it seem like a disconnect in the game world, or does the integration contribute to the overall experience?
How do you feel about playing games on the Nintendo 3DS? Do you use the 3D often?
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Science: momentum, physics
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses
Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, problem solving, strategy
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: July 31, 2012
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.